The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 23, 2011
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“I dedicate this book to the thousands of little girls who are sold into prostitution every year.”
– Somaly Mam

Human trafficking is not an easy topic to address. People are definitely aware it exists, but it isn't publicized the way poverty and drug abuse are. But Somaly Mam not only to writes about it, but also describes her experience as a forced sex trade worker.

Somaly was orphaned as a child and lived with a group called the Phnong in a small village in Cambodia. Eventually, a man arrived and offered to take her from the village, telling her to call him “grandfather.” She eagerly went, thinking he would help her find her parents. But Grandfather made her his personal slave, having her cook his meals, draw water from the well, and earn money for him to gamble. If she didn't make enough money, he beat her. Grandfather also did many horrible things to her, including hitting her, tying her down, and molesting her. When she was 14, he married her off to a soldier who treated her the same way. When Somaly's husband didn't return from battle, Grandfather sold her to a brothel where she was forced to have sex; if she resisted, she was horribly punished.

Somaly eventually escaped by marrying a Frenchman. After moving to France for a few years, she returned to Cambodia and was startled by how terrible the trafficking situation had become. Parents were knowingly selling their children into prostitution for money, and the police were the brothel's main clients.

Somaly wanted to help these girls because she understood their pain. So she started an organization called AFESIP (Acting For Women in Distressing Situations), and brought young prostitutes to shelters to help them rebuild their lives.

This memoir is beautifully written, using simple yet powerful words that make readers think. Somaly Mam's pain is evident through her words, but her purpose is clear: she isn't writing her story to gain sympathy or pity, but to give the thousands of young women in the sex trade a voice. In spite of the book's serious and sensitive topic, Mam manages to create hope. The fact that she was able to get out and help others is inspirational.

This book haunted me. I had heard about human trafficking, but nothing could have prepared me for the emotions I felt reading a victim's account. Sex is supposed to symbolize love and intimacy, but for millions of girls around the world, it only means violence and punishment.

I definitely recommend this book. It will give you a glimpse into a world that is hidden behind closed doors. People need to know about human trafficking so that something can be done to end it forever.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

tellthetruth said...
Sept. 11, 2014 at 8:12 am
f you believe this book - You were FOOLED AND SCAMMED !! It is amazing how many people still don't know that Somaly Mam resigned from her foundation on May 28, 2014 because of lies she told about her life story and her fake "victims" Look up "Somaly Mam resignation" on the internet if you don't believe me. Somaly Mam is a fraud, cheat, liar, scam artist. She was NEVER a sex trafficking victim. She lived a normal life. Her own foundation SMF doesn't want anyth... (more »)
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm

i am very interested to read this book! it sounds very hardcore and extremely engaging as a book. you described it well.


could you please read my Cyrano de Bergerac review? it's under my name. thanks and keep writing! :)

Noni3280 replied...
Dec. 22, 2011 at 4:29 am
woah, its sounds deep, sometimes its hard to believe these things happen. i probably wouldn't read cause like you said it haunts you and those subjects disturb me, but it does sounds interesting.
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